Virtual Reality Goes Beyond Gaming

Virtual reality’s breakthrough moment might not be gaming. Claude Zellweger from HTC, Dr. Richard Marks from Sony, Paul Raphaël from Felix and Paul Studios took the stage with our own Drew Olanoff at Disrupt SF to talk about virtual reality. These VR experts had a lot of things to say about the content that should hit your favorite VR headset in the coming years.

“The question will be what can I create for this medium?” Claude Zellweger said. “I’m very interested in the tools that we create to create content for VR. At the beginning, it will be focused on 360 videos. Then it will be something like Flash for VR.”

And it’s not just about the tools, it’s also what you do with these tools. “As an artist, virtual reality has been mind blowing. A lot of people are going to spend a lot of time in VR that is not gaming, that is the equivalent of film or television,” Paul Raphaël said.

“That’s one of the conception that people have, that you’re going to be alone. But you’re not going to be alone,” Dr. Richard Marks said. “You get the sense that people are there with you. You can reach out with your hand to somebody. You’ll be able to see their facial expression.”

And then, there is the Oculus moment. Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion, betting big on virtual reality.

“I think it was great in opening people’s awareness,” Zellweger said. “There is a lot of space for a lot of players. Oculus is kind of leading the way in that sense.”

“This new medium now has a stamp of approval,” Raphaël said. How do you move from this stamp of approval? You find all the ways you can use virtual reality to make it useful and get more people on board.

“We’re focused on other industries. Gaming is our lead for sure and our gamers are very excited about VR. Sony has a movie company too,” Marks said. “We’ve been working with NASA. There’s a lot of different possibilities for VR — education, real estate, there are so many different things.”

Yet, as VR content companies are booming, some of them will certainly produce bad content. “I think we’re going to see a lot of bad VR,” Zellweger said. Virtual reality content is still a giant experiment. But that’s not a bad thing as some of the best content will surface from these experiments.

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